Friday, June 29, 2012

A month of Giveaways from Ronco


Summer is here and what a great time to start cooking the smart and
healthy way!  The world famous Ronco Rotisserie is the perfect way to
entertain rain or shine.  All you have to do is visit their Facebook 
page and click “Like” and you’ll be automatically entered to win one
of these amazing rotisseries. Ronco will be giving 31 -5500 Ronco 
Rotisseries (retail for $199.99 each) away for every day in July.
(The items will be shipped for free as well.) 

photo courtesy of Ronco Products
Ronco will draw a winner randomly each day for the entire month of
July so the earlier you LIKE them, the more chances you’ll have to
win!  And be sure to tell all of your friends to like Ronco too.  If
they win, Ronco will recommend that they invite you over for a
wonderful, healthy dinner.
Promotion Details:
1.Winners will be announced on Facebook the following morning of the
daily drawing. (ie. Winners of the July 1st drawing will be announced
on July 2nd.)
2. The promotion begins July 1st and ends July 31st. Once you LIKE RONCO
you’ll be entered for each of the remaining days in July.
3.No duplicate winners.  If you are a winner, your name will be
removed from the random drawing list.
4.If you choose to “unlike” RONCO at any time during the contest, your
name will be removed from the drawing list.

 photo courtesy of Ronco Products
Who wouldn't like one of these awesome rotisseries?? I know anytime I 
see the Ronco Rotisserie, on QVC, I practically drool. So hurry up and 
go on over to give them a LIKE, for your chance to win!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last Day of School Teacher Gift


Today is the day. The LAST DAY of school!! I think I seriously am more excited than Mr.B, since I've been so beat this week and am looking forward to sleeping in and just relaxing for a few months. To help Mr.B's class celebrate, I sent in some cupcakes (look for that post next week). Mr.B got lucky again this year, and was place in a class with a wonderful teacher. I loved how his teacher called us several times a year, just to keep us in the loop of how Mr.B was doing, how he was improving and what he needed to work on. Plus, Mr.B just loved her, so that always makes the year easier. So, when I heard that his teacher was retiring this year, I wanted to send her off with an extra special gift.


I usually give homemade food gifts, to teachers. I think they are more personal, than say a gift card. I wanted to make this gift extra special and saw the idea for this flower pot on Pinterest. I went to Michael's and came home with all my necessary materials, plus these really cute teacher themed sticker embellishments. Mr.B decided on a beautiful little African Violet plant, to put inside the flower pot. I paired this up with some delicious homemade Strawberry-Basil Sauce, that is perfect for ice cream, waffles or pancakes.

Flower Pot

you will need:
1- 4-inch terra cotta pot
Sealer spray
yellow paint
black paint
a white craft pen (bold tip)
school themed stickers/embellishments
plant of choice
1 pencil
2 butterfly embellishments
ribbon of choice
hot glue

Before starting, in a well ventilated area, liberally spray inside of pot with sealer spray. Let dry and repeat 3-4 times, to ensure a nice water proof barrier is formed- DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP or your paint will bubble. Let dry completely over night.

Paint the top rim with yellow pain; let dry. Apply second coat, to create a bold colour; let dry. Paint bottom half of pot with black paint, with 2-3 coats of paint; letting each coat dry in between. Using your white craft pen write- THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME GROW with your child's name and year.

Let pot dry for an hour, to ensure everything is dry. In a well ventilated area (outside), spray outside of pot with sealer spray. Let dry completely; 2-3 hrs.

Once dry, attache stickers/embellishments to the top rim and sides of pot, ensuring to not cover the text. Carefully fill the pot with soil and transfer your plant into the pot. Wipe off any excess dirt that has fallen on the outside of the pot.

Using the hot glue, attache the butterfly embelishments onto the pecil, just below the eraser. Using the ribbon, tie a pretty bow, just below the butterflies. Insert pencil garden stake into the soil, next to the plant.

Strawberry-Basil Sauce

6 C fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and crushed
3 C sugar
1/4 C lemon juice
1 envellope of liquid pectin
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil

In a large pot, crush the strawberries. Add in sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil, over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to a rolling boil, that can not be stirred down. Stir in liquid pectin and boil for 1 minute. Stir in basil and pour sauce into sterilized jars and top with lids. Process in a hot water bath, for 10 minutes. Let cool on a clean towel. Refrigerate once opened.

This post linked to

Foodie Friday
Friday Favorites

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Raspberry and White Chocolate Mille-Feuille


Last month, I was approached with an opportunity to review a cookbook, that was full of amazing sounding Italian desserts. Having an enormous sweet tooth, I said yes right away. The fact that the author, Grace Massa Langlois, is Canadian and acutally lives just hours away, sweetened the deal (no pun intended, LOL). I love to find new Canadian bloggers and help spread the word about them. Grace was born in Belgium (to Italian parents), but grew up in Southern Ontario. Through all that, she never lost her Italian heritage and her cookbook has more than 50 colour photos of her amazing and mouthwatering creations. From Tiramisu, to Panna Cotta with Raspberry Jelly, Grace's Sweet Life is sure to have you rushing to the kitchen and baking up one of her recipes.


The recipe that instantly caught my eye, was right there, smack dab on the front cover. A beautiful Mille-Feuille with White Chocolate Pastry Cream and fresh berries. So stunning, so inviting; it had me quickly search for the recipe. This was my first time ever attempting pastry cream. I've always been so intimidated with all these fancy fillings, but this dessert was ingrained into my brain and I just HAD to make it. The pastry cream was much simpler than I thought it would be. I love the intoxicating vanilla scent, which mingles in this smooth, silky pastry cream. I must say that I was a little impatient and think that I didn't let it thicken enough, since it wasn't as stiff as I would have liked it. That's me.... impatient, but now that I know, I will be a pastry cream pro in no time, LOL. I love the in depth instructions that accompany each recipe. I love the variety this book holds- pies, cakes, custards, creams; it is a dessert junkie's paradise, LOL.


With Canada Day just around the corner, I thought this beautiful white and red dessert would be the perfect way to celebrate our country. After all when one thinks of Canada, we think of our white and red flag. I loved the crispy, flaky and slightly sweet puff pastry layers and how they gave a great contrast in texture against the smooth pastry cream. I chose strawberries, since we had recently been strawberry picking and it seemed fitting for Canada Day.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Mille-Feuille
Adapted from Grace's Sweet Life cookbook

Pastry Rectangles
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
2 (10x10- inch) sheets store-bought puff pastry, or Pasta Sfoglia (page 22)

White Chocolate Pastry Cream
2 C whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2/3 C superfine sugar
1/4 C + 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, sifted
4 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

fresh raspberries, for decorating
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
finely grated white chocolate, for decorating (optional)

To make Pastry Rectangles
1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift a light dusting of confectioners' sugar over the parchment paper.

2. Cut each pastry sheet into 10 (5x2-inch) rectangles, for a total of 20 rectangles. Use an offset spatula to transfer the rectangles to the prpared baking sheets (10 per sheet). Using a fine mesh sieve, sift confectioners' sugar over the pastry. Transfer to freezer to chill 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove 1 sheet of pastry rectangles fromt he freezer and dust again with confectioner's sugar. To prevent the dough from rising, top with a sheet of parchment paper, lay a second baking sheet on top, and weigh it down with a ceramic baking dish. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees and immediately transfer the pastry rectangles to the oven and bake until golden, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove the baking dish, the top baking sheet and the top parchment paper. Carefully flip the pastry rectangles over, return to the oven and bake until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes longer.

4. Transfer the pastry rectangles to a wire rack to cool. Return oven to 450 degrees and repeat with remaining sheet of pastry rectangles, remembering to lower the temperature to 375 degrees when ready to bake. If not assembling the mille-feuille within 2 hrs, transfer the cooled pastry rectangles to an airtight container and store at room temperature.

To make the Filling
1. Reserve 1/c C milk. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining milk and the vanilla bean and seeds just to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and allow vanilla to steep for 10-12 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl using a large whisk, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale in colour, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and continue to whisk until smooth. Gradually add the reserved milk and whisk to combine well. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the vanilla infused milk whisking to combine well.

3. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 4 ounces finely chopped white chocolate until smooth. Strain custard through a fine mesh sieve into a small heat proof bowl (discard the solids). Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming as it cooks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble and Serve
1. Because pastry dough can shrink while baking, even when it's weighed down, stack the pastry rectangles in groups of 3 and trim with a sharp knife as needed to make them the same size.

2. Transfer the pastry cream to a large pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (like Wilton 1M).

3. Place pastry rectangle on a clean work surface and pipe 2 rows of pastry cream on top. Top with second pastry rectangle. Repeat with another layer of pastry  cream and a third pastry triangle. Decorate with fresh raspberries. Repeat with remaining pastry rectangles and pastry cream.

4. Just before serving, lightly dust with confectioners' sugar and drated white chocolate, if using. Serve at room temperature.


This post linked to

Full Plate Thursday 
Recipe Box
Weekend Potluck
Foodie Friends Friday

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cherry-Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies


 I've been busy in the kitchen this week, making all sorts of goodies, for school, for us, for my blog. These cookies were totally not on the agenda, but I was left with 3 extra egg whites, a ton of maraschino cherries and chocolate chips, so I decided to make some meringue cookies. This is the first time I ever made, or tasted meringue cookies and let me tell you, I'm in love. So easy to put together and they don't heat up the house too much, since they are baked at such a low temperature. I actually started these an hour before having to leave to get Mr.B from school; totally not knowing they needed to cook for an hour, to an hour and a half. Thankfully I felt comfortable enough to leave them at such a low temperature, for the 30 minutes I needed to get Mr.B home.


These cookies are addictive!! I love the way they are crunchy, but also almost dissolve completely in your mouth. I really like the flavour of the chocolate and cherries, with the airy crispy meringue. The kids were a little apprehensive about these cookies, but after one bite they loved them. I even sent a few in with Mr.B's lunch today and though his sandwich wasn't completely eaten, the cookies sure were, LOL. I love that these are naturally gluten free and though they are high in sugar, these are very low fat. Next time I make these, I think I may try to cut the sugar in half, since the cherries and chocolate add such great sweetness.

Cherry-Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
printable version

3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 C sugar
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C maraschino cherries, well drained and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixer bowl, on high speed, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Add in salt and cream of tartar, and gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating to stiff peaks and beat for 1-2 additional minutes, until egg whites are fluffy and glossy. Add in chocolate chips and cherries and gently fold everything together.

Drop by generous spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets and slightly spread them out a bit. Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hrs, until the tops are crisp and they are just about to turn slightly golden.


This post linked to

Tasty Tuesday
See Ya in the Gumbo
Tuesdays at the Table
Delicious Dishes
Hearth and Soul
Fit and Fabulous Fridays

Monday, June 25, 2012

Meal Plan Monday~ June 25, 2012

Happy Monday!

This week is super exciting, because Mr.B only has 4 days of school left!!! For the past two weeks, I've been wishing school was over already. I just need to sleep later than 7am.... desperately, LOL. Thankfully the kids took pity on me and slept until 9am on Saturday and until 10 am on Sunday. With sunset so late, I let them stay up until 9:30 on weekends. As long as they aren't too rowdy, cranky and aren't arguing, I'm cool with that.


Yesterday, Hubby and I took the kids to a local Strawberry Festival. We had fun picking over 12 L of strawberries, buying more farm fresh local produce, getting the kid's faces painted and eating some yummy BBQed burgers and dogs. It started raining just as we were leaving, so our timing was perfect. Today I have to wash, hull and freeze some berries, while I turn the others into yummy strawberry jam. I'll be trying a few different variations this year.... hope they are yummy. The weather has cooled off a bit this week, so hopefully I can get that roast I bought on sale, on the table tonight. We will also be celebrating Canada Day here this weekend, so stay tuned for a great white and red dessert I have planned to share with you.
Here's our menu, for the week

  • Crockpot roast with mashed potatoes and broccoli
  • Texas Cheeseburger Sliders (new recipe) with chips and homemade salsa
  • Last day of school pizza party night
  • pierogies with bacon, onion and cheese, and a salad
  • Sticky Glazed Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Salad
  • Summer Spaghetti (new recipe) with tossed salad
  • Leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for more great meal plans!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Bacon


Adding bacon to dessert, has become a really hot trend. One that I had not tried yet and really didn't plan of trying. Until Hubby saw this recipe from Pillsbury and mentioned it would be delicious. So, it recently being Father's Day and us not really having the chance to celebrate, I went ahead and made this for him. Being who I am, I went ahead and changed a few things; like making my own crust and changing the chocolate sauce up a bit. I have to be honest and say that I wasn't all that sure if this would taste good. I mean I know bacon goes well with sweet (I love dipping my bacon into maple syrup, when I have pancakes), but banana, peanut butter and chocolate too??

I let this sit over night, with plans of serving it for dessert, the following night. Everyone anxiously awaited the moment we could all dig in and try this odd, but so appealing concoction. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. We all LOVED this pie!!! It was creamy, slightly sweet and salty. The crisp bacon had softened slightly and added a great smoky and salty contrast to the sweet pie. The crust also added a nice savory aspect, ensuring this pie wasn't overly sweet. Hubby thought it was an awesome pie and it was completely gone by the next afternoon. So, if you're looking for a show stopping dessert, that will impress everyone, go ahead and make this for your next gathering. It's sure to be the talk of the evening!!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Bacon
printable version

 2 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 lb lard
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 egg, room temperature

Chocolate Sauce:
1 C heavy cream
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C (200g) 80% dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbs butter

Peanut Butter filling:
1- 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 C natural peanut butter*
3/4 C powdered sugar
1 C whipping cream
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 lb (6 slices) bacon, finely chopped and cooked crisp
1 ripe banana, sliced

For Crust: In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in lard, until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs. In the same measuring cup used to measure the flour, add the lemon juice and egg. Beat together and add water, to fill the cup. Pour a bit of the mixture into the flour, adding more if needed, mixing until dough starts to stick together. Sprinkle counter top with additional flour, take 1/3 of the dough mixture and roll out to an 1/8 inch thickness. Carefully place dough into a deep dish pie plate. Using dough scraps and a bit of remaining dough, roll  out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out shapes, in rolled dough. Glue shapes onto the upper inside part of the dough in pie dish, using remaining egg mixture. Generously make holes, using a fork, in bottom and sides of pie dough. Bake for 10-15 minutes, in a 350 degree oven. Cool completely

For Chocolate Sauce: in a small sauce pot, over med low heat, add 1 C heavy cream and brown sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubble begin to break surface. Remove from heat. Place chopped chocolate into a medium bowl, pour hot cream mixture into chocolate and let sit for a few minutes. Stir to combine melted chocolate, add in butter and stir until melted and combined. Set aside to cool slightly.

For Peanut Butter Filling: In your mixers bowl, add the 2nd cup of heavy cream. Beat on medium speed, until soft peaks are formed. Slowly add in 1/4 C powdered sugar and vanilla, beating on high speed, until the cream reached stiff peaks. In a large bowl cream together the cream cheese and powdered sugar, until smooth. Add peanut butter and beat until well combined. Gently fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.

To assemble: Pour a generous 1/2 C of chocolate sauce, in the bottom of the baked and cooled pie crust. Sprinkle crisp bacon over chocolate sauce, making sure to reserve some pieces to garnish the top of the pie. Place banana slices on top of chocolate and bacon. Spoon peanut butter filling over bananas and spread evenly. Take additional chocolate sauce and place in a zip top bag and snip a small hole in one end. Drizzle chocolate sauce over pie and garnish with remaining bacon pieces. Refrigerate at least 4 hrs, to over night, to set.

*If using regular creamy peanut butter, reduce powdered sugar to 1/2 C.


This post linked to

Sweets for Saturday
Recipe Box
Weekend Potluck 
Church Supper

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tandoori Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Flatbread


When I was asked to take part in the VH Sauce Grill to Thrill blog tour, I was super excited. I grew up eating VH Sweet and Sour Sauce and Soy Sauce, so I knew that this would be a delicious blog tour. From cooking sauces to dips and marinades, VH offers a variety of international flavours (26 in total!) that will help you turn everyday meals into something a little more exotic on the grill. To help me with my post, I was sent a variety of VH sauces to try out. I was very excited to try the Tandoori Sauce, because it isn't normally something I would cook with. So, I eagerly ventured over to VH Sauce's Facebook page, to check out some BBQ meal ideas. This pork tenderloin peaked my interest, because it seemed like such a simple and light dinner.

Photobucket Photobucket 

 The kids really loved the layout of this meal. I placed the sliced pork tenderloin on a large cutting board and surrounded it with great accompaniments, to make our meal complete. The pork itself was so tender and just melt in your mouth. (I think it was mostly in part for using PAM Grilling Spray, to ensure the meat didn't stick to my grill grates). I loved the warm sweet and savory notes in the Tandoori sauce. It paired beautifully with the salty flatbread and goat cheese. The kids and I were totally crazy for this, topped with a mild mango chutney, but it was just as good with a nice apple chutney. 

So, if you are looking for someway to spice up your everyday BBQ meals, reach for a bottle of VH Sauce, the possibilities are endless!! And don't forget to check out my VH Grill to Thrill Giveaway, for a chance to get into the excitement of using VH Sauces, for grilling!!

 “Disclosure – I am participating in the VH Grill to Thrill Blog Tour by Mom Central Canada on behalf of VH. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.”


Tandoori Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Flatbread
Adapted from VH Sauces

Serves: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

  • 1 lb (500 gr) pork tenderloin
  • 1 jar (341 mL) VH® Tandoori Sauce
  • 4 greek style pita or flat breads
  • Dried fruits and olives (apple slices, dried apricots, etc.)
  • Mango chutney
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) feta or goat cheese, crumbled
  • PAM® Grilling Spray
  1. Marinate pork in ¾ cup (180 mL) of VH® Tandoori Sauce for 30 minutes. Spray grill with PAM® and heat to medium-high.
  2. Wipe excess marinade from pork and discard. Sear pork on grill, 1 minute on each of 4 sides. Move meat to a cooler spot on the grill to finish cooking with indirect heat, or lower the flame, about 15 minutes. While cooking, baste pork with ¼ cup (60 mL) jarred sauce. Remove from heat, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Slice thinly and serve with remaining jarred VH® Tandoori Sauce, bread, dried fruits, olives, chutney and cheese.
  • While the cooked pork is resting place flatbreads on grill to warm through. Also, use a meat thermometer to ensure the pork’s internal temperature reaches 160˚F (70˚C).

This post linked to

Full Plate Thursday 
Friday Favorites
Foodie Friday

Some of my Favourite Snacks and a Giveaway!!


 Ever feel that 3pm energy slump?? I sure do. If I didn't have to pick Mr.B up from school during the week, you could bet I'd be napping, LOL. So I'm super excited to tell you about some yummy snacks that will give you the boost you need, without packing in those calories. Fibre 1 and Nature Valley have both come out with low cal, super yummy snacks, to keep you going strong, until dinner time.

Fibre 1 Brownies are only 110 calories and are super moist and chocolatey good. Then there is the 100 calorie Fibre 1 Chocolate Caramel & Pretzel bars.... hello, trifecta of snacking goodness, LOL. Plus they are a great way to get 20% of your daily fibre intake, in a snack. But I have to say that Nature Valley's 90 calorie Chocolate coated Granola Thins are by far my favourites. I've always loved the crispy granola bars, since they satisfy my sweet tooth and my need for crunch. These in my snacking arsenal will ensure that I'm not crashed out on the couch, when I should be getting ready to grab the kids from school.

You could look for these in the granola bar isle, at your local grocery store. And to make it easier to try these killer snacks, the Life Made Delicious Facebook page is offering a one-day only FREE coupon available for grabs (for fans only), by simply clicking on the free coupon tab at the top of their FB page. This coupon will be redeemable on July 24th only, so hurry to get yours now.


But, that's not all, the generous people over at Life Made Delicious General Mills want to give my readers a chance to get in on the excitement by offering you the opportunity to win Fibre 1 & Nature Valley Snacks kit. Each kit is valued at $50 and will include

  • 1 box of Nature Valley Granola Thins
  • 1 box of Fibre 1 -100 calorie Chewy Bars
  • 1 box of Fibre 1 -110 calorie Brownies 
  • 1 weekender Tote bag
All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment, here on my blog (by clicking comments at the end of the post) and telling me what product you would be interested in trying (don't forget to leave your email, so I can contact you if you win). Contest will run from June 20  to July 3 and is open to Canadian residents only. Please note that readers may enter across multiple blogs, but may only win one prize.

“Disclosure – I am participating in the Life Made Delicious Ambassador Program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grilled Eggplant Pasta


Sometimes I seriously fell like I'm loosing my mind. Lately, I've been so forgetful and it's really been frustrating. Not only did I misplace the Father's Day card I bought Hubby, I bought two gorgeous baby eggplant and had no idea what for. Welcome to the loony bin, will you be staying long?? Yup, that's my life lately. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?? Since I couldn't and still can't remember the reason for buying the eggplant, I decided to use it to make a meatless meal. I LOVE meatless meals and could eat them all week. I'm not sure Hubby and my nephew would appreciate it much though, LOL. The kids have never had eggplant before, so I had to be careful about how I was to make this dinner. I decided to grill it and add it to pasta, tossed with a beautiful and simple marinara sauce.


The kids went absolutely bonkers for this and even tried the eggplant. After 3 servings each and 2 pieces of eggplant, both kids had full bellies and were quick to tell me how delicious dinner was. I just love those nights!! I can't really blame them though, because this was a pretty awesome dinner. The sauce was so simple, yet full of flavour; studded with fresh basil and grilled eggplant. A perfect meatless simple supper, perfect for those busy nights, or nights where you just want something quick and easy on the table.

Grilled Eggplant Pasta
printable version

2 baby eggplants, rinsed
olive oil
garlic salt
2 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 cans whole tomatoes
1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs honey
1/4 C fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 lb spaghetti

Preheat grill to medium.

Cut stem ends off of eggplant, cut in half and cut halves into 3/4 inch thick slices. Place eggplant in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and toss to coat. Place on hot grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season liberally with salt and add in spaghetti. Stir and cook over medium high heat, according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 Tbs olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook 3 minutes, until onion is translucent. Slowly pour in canned tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands. Season with salt and pepper, honey and fresh basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until reduced and thick. Once sauce is reduced, stir in Parmigiano and grilled eggplant, which has been chopped to bite size pieces. Toss in cooked pasta and garnish with additional fresh basil and fresh grated Parmigiano.


This post linked to

See ya in the Gumbo
Hearth and Soul
Tuesday at the Table
Delicious Dishes
Tasty Tuesday
Fit and Fabulous Fridays 
My Meatless Mondays

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meal Plan Monday~ June 18, 2012

Happy Monday!


Well, it's been a while since my last Meal Plan Monday. Things in the Jamieson household have been quite hectic, so though I've been cooking, I just haven't been planning my meals. It's resulted in many late night dinners, since I had NO idea what to make. So, this week I'm getting back into the swing of things. Tonight we are celebrating Father's Day, a day late; since Hubby had to work yesterday. I've made a spectacular chocolate peanut butter pie, with bacon, and we are all anxiously awaiting the end of dinner, to dig in, LOL. Here's the gift the kids and I gave Hubby, yesterday morning with his breakfast in bed.


This week should be pretty quiet, with the exception of Thursday. I am going along with Mr.B's class, to the Toronto Science Center, for the day. Mr.B is supper excited to have his Mom tagging along, LOL. He's so proud that I've started volunteering at school and I'm just soaking it in, since I know that it won't be long before he's totally embarrassed that I'm his mother..... Here is our plan for the week

  • Mediterranean Grilled Steaks (new recipe) with veggie kabobs
  • Burgers and dogs, with potato salad
  • Grilled pork chops with Boy Scout Potatoes (new recipe) and grilled asparagus
  • Pierogies with onion, cheese and bacon, salad on the side
  • Beef and veggie kabobs
  • Homemade Pigs in a blanket, with oven fries and steamed broccoli
  • Leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for more great meal plans!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Strawberry-Lime Yogurt Cake


 This has the be the most unbelievable cake ever!! I'm sure you may be a bit skeptical.... heck, even I didn't expect it to be this good. I figured it would be your ordinary old yogurt cake. BUT, I was SO wrong!! My yogurt cake jorney all started when I found a bunch of yogurt, in the fridge, that was past the Best Before Date. I usually use this yogurt to bake, but with the warm weather, I really haven't been using the oven much. Fate must have been on my side, because it's been a bit cooler, the past few days and I went to work. Since I'm a little obsessed with lime lately, I decided to incorporate it into the cake. And what goes better with lime than strawberries??? Well, tequila..... but that's a different story, LOL.


I am totally in love with this cake. I'll be honest and tell you that I am acutally having a piece, as I type this, for breakfast. I think what I'm so excited about it the texture. I'm not a big fan of homemade cakes, because a lot of them turn out dry and dense. This one however, is so light, fluffy and moist. It really does remind me of a cake mix cake, but it's totally homemade. The strawberries and lime add a nice subtle tartness to the sweet cake and the lime glaze is a beautiful puckery contrast to it all. It really rounds out the flavours, so don't skip the glaze.

Strawberry-Lime Yogurt Cake
printable version

    1 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    3 eggs
    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
    2 limes, zested
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 single serving vanilla, yogurt
    1 1/2 C fresh strawberries, diced
    1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sift together the 2 1/4 cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in half the lime zest and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lime juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.

Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lime juice, lime zest and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.


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Weekend Potluck
Sweets for Saturday
Church Supper

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lemon Dill Green Beans with Capers


With the warm weather, I've been grilling most nights. I love a good BBQ and prefer to cook outside in the hot summer months, but let's face it- it can get boring. Thankfully while growing up, my Mom often made foil packet veggies and potatoes. I love how versatile these are. Any veggies you feel like that night, you season, wrap in foil and grill with your dinner. Easy peasy, delicious and minimal clean up. Plus you can change it up, so less chance of getting bored, LOL.


I had sorry looking dill in my fridge, so knew I needed to use it up. I went with green beans, since they pair nicely with dill. I decided to throw in some green onion, lemon, nice salty capers and some crushed red pepper for heat. The result was superb; totally not your ordinary green beans. I loved the tangy, salty and spicy beans. Paired with a nice piece of grilled chicken or steak, to sop up the extra juices, this is a phenomenal and easy side, for any BBQ.

Lemon Dill Green Beans with Capers
printable version

1 lb fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C capers, drained
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more if desired)
2 Tbs olive oil

Preheat grill to medium- high. Place green beans on a double thickness of foil (about 18 inches long). In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, dill, green onion, garlic, capers and crushed red pepper flakes. Fold foil around 3 sides of the green beans, sealing tightly and leaving one end open. Carefully pour lemon dill mixture into the packet and fold remaining foil, to seal packet completely. Grill covered, for 20-25 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Open foil carefully, allowing steam to escape.


This post linked to

Foodie Friday
Full Plate Thursday
Fit and Fabulous Friday

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grilled Italian Burgers


Where's the beef?

A few years ago, I would have said, "anywhere but here". I was not a big fan of ground beef, in any way, shape or form. Then I started thinking, what kind of foodie am I, if I don't get out of my comfort zone and cook with something I'm not really fond of. So, last year I decided to start making burgers from scratch, to get myself to love ground beef. I have to say that it worked. Now that it's grilling season, I'm looking forward to making burgers of every kind I can think of. Mind you, I'm still not eating any store bought, premade burgers, like the boys seem to enjoy...... ICK.


When thinking of dinner the other night, I took a glance around my kitchen and noticed my basil plant, that is overflowing with sweet basil. I haven't been using my fresh basil as much as I should be, so I thought a nice Italian style burger, topped with fresh basil would be perfect for dinner. Let me tell you, was it ever!! I loved the slight tomato flavor in the meat, the melty Provolone cheese and the tangy roast garlic Parmesan Mayonnaise. Just thinking about these is making my mouth water! I guess it would help if I didn't write these posts before breakfast, LOL. But I digress, the kids absolutely loved these burgers, but weren't really fond of the basil. So, I topped their burgers with a bit of romaine. These are easy, yet full of delicious flavor. Perfect for a weeknight meal.

Grilled Italian Burgers
printable version

1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
8 slices Provolone cheese
fresh basil leaves
8 rolls, or hamburger buns
1/2 C mayonnaise
2 cloves roast garlic
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper
sliced tomatoes

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, Parmesan and Worcestershire sauce. Using clean hands, gently mix the beef, until all is incorporated. Form the beef into a uniform size mound and score into equal pieces. Separate each piece in two, forming 8 patties.

Preheat grill over medium high heat. Place patties on hot grill, close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes; until the patty easily releases from the grates. Flip patties and top with a slice of Provolone cheese. Close lid and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes; until cooked through. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes.

While burgers are cooking, mix the mayonnaise, roast garlic, black pepper and 1/4 C of Parmesan, in a small bowl.

To assemble: generously spread tops and bottoms of buns with roast garlic Parmesan Mayonnaise. Place a slice of tomato on bottom bun and season with salt and pepper. Top tomato with a beef patty and top with a few leaves of fresh basil. Place top bun and dig in.


This post linked to

Delicious Dishes
Tasty Tuesday
See Ya in the Gumbo
Hearth and Soul
Tuesday at the Table

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Frozen Blackberry Sweet Tea


When summer rolls around, one of our staple drinks is home made Sweet Tea. Hubby and Mr.B can't get enough of it and I often find myself making a pitcher a day. Though I love a good glass of fresh brewed iced tea with a squeeze of lemon and lime, I thought it would be fun to turn this into a fancier drink that would impress guest, who come for cookouts. This drink can be made, with or without liquor and is just as good either way. We're not big drinkers, so I like the fact that I can still enjoy these on week days, while I'm home with the kids.


You can make a big batch of blackberry puree and keep it in your fridge for about a week. That way, you don't have to pull out the food processor, anytime you want to make this. Queenie, who isn't fond of iced tea, loved this. There is just a hint of tea flavour, with the bright slightly tart flavour of the blackberries. Depending on how tart your berries are, you may want to increase the sweetness of the puree. Refreshing!

Frozen Blackberry Sweet Tea
printable version

1/2 C blackberries
2 Tbs honey
2 C fresh brewed Iced Tea
3 C ice cubes (about 2 trays)
3 oz vanilla flavoured Vodka (optional)

Place berries and honey into a food processor and blend until smooth. Place a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and pour puree into the strainer. Using a spatula, push puree through strainer into the bowl; discard remaining seeds.

In a blender place the berry puree, ice cubes, iced tea and Vodka (if using). Blend until all ice has been chopped. Pour into 2 glasses and garnish with additional black berries that have been threaded onto a skewer.


 This post linked to

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Weekend Potluck
Recipe of the Week

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Broccoli and Cheese Omelet


 I love breakfast! It's one of those meals I don't mind eating, any time of the day. Actually, you can find me serving up breakfast, for dinner, at least once a week. It's one of those meals that I know the kids will devour without any hesitation or complaint..... I just love those nights. I also find myself reaching for breakfast foods, at lunch time. It's quick and satisfying and doesn't leave me chewing my arm off, at 3pm.


Eggs are so versatile, they'll go with practically anything. I love making myself omelets, for lunch. I say myself, because any time I try to make an omelet for Hubby, it rips and ends up looking more like an pile of eggs and filling, than an omelet..... still trying to figure that one out, LOL. For this one, I decided to take some ingredients that I love, saute them and use them as a filling. Broccoli, red pepper and cheddar are a perfect combination and I decided to add in some slivered almonds, for crunch. Home run!!

Broccoli and Cheese Omelet
printable version

1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 C chopped broccoli, finely
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 of a red pepper, chopped
1/4 C slivered almonds
1/4 C low fat sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
2 egg whites
2 Tbs low fat milk
salt and pepper
2 Tbs butter

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, almonds and broccoli. Season with a touch of salt and pepper and cook until onion is translucent and broccoli is tender. Set aside.

In a second small skillet, melt butter over med- low heat. In a bowl crack the egg and add the egg whites. Season lightly with salt and pepper, add milk and whisk until completely incorporated and very frothy. Slowly pour the eggs into the skillet. Cook, moving set eggs into the center and tipping pan to let raw eggs take their place. Once all eggs are soft set, add in 3/4 of the filling and 3/4 of the grated Cheddar. Starting from one end, flip one side of the omelet to the center and flip center of omelet onto the remaining edge. Carefully slide onto a plate and top with remaining broccoli mixture and cheese.


This post linked to

Full Plate Thursday 
Fit and Fabulous Friday
Friday Favorites
Foodie Friday

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Shrimp and Crab Dip


This recipe has been popping up frequently around here, the past few months, so I decided to share it with you all. Hubby is the one who created this recipe and while he did show me how to make it, so I could enter it in the Real Woman of Philly contest, he seems to make it better, LOL. Isn't that the way it always is?? Like when you can never get a dish to taste exactly like your Mom's, or grand mother's. I also decided to make this, this past weekend for my sister and nephew's baby shower. Though Philadelphia Cream Cheese didn't like my recipe, my relatives LOVED it. What I am most proud of, is that I got my Dad to eat cream cheese, Parmesan and Monterey Jack cheese; and he liked it!!!


This dip couldn't be simpler and tastes amazing. I love the sweetness of the shrimp and crab with the tangy cheeses. Hubby adds a touch of Asian flare with the use of rice wine vinegar and Sriracha sauce, which just add a hint of "je ne sais quoi", to the dip. Rice wine vinegar has a more mellow taste than other vinegars, so it won't over power any of the other ingredients. If you like more spice, add as much or as little of the Sriracha red pepper sauce as you'd like. We love to serve this dip with chewy slices of baguette. Make sure to have a ton, since your guests won't stop until all the dip is gone!

Hubby's Shrimp and Crab Dip
printable version

    1/2 large onion, chopped
    1/2 cubanelle pepper, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 pound 61-70 count shrimp
    3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
    1/2 tsp hot sauce
    8 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
    1/2 cup low fat sour cream
    1 pinch sea salt
    1 pinch black pepper
    4 120g cans of crab meat (chunks) drained
    1 cup monterey jack cheese
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    1 green onion, chopped on the bias
    1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
    1 baguette (whole wheat or white), sliced thinly on the bias
    2 tablespoons olive oil

    Heat olive oil in a medium skillet, over medium heat.
    Add in onion, Cubanelle pepper and garlic; cook until onion is translucent.
    Add in shrimp and cook until they begin to turn pink.
    In a small bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
    Add to shrimp and cook until shrimp are fully cooked; about 3-5 minutes.
    Transfer shrimp mixture to a bowl, to cool.
    In a large bowl, combine the Philadelphia Cream Cheese with the sour cream, salt and pepper; until  smooth and well combined.
    Stir in the cooled shrimp mixture.
    Gently fold in the crab.
    Pour mixture into an oven safe dish.
    Sprinkle with Monterey Jack and Parmesan; followed by tomato and green onion.
    Bake in a 350 degree oven, until edges start to bubble and top begins to brown slightly; about 15-20 minutes.
    Serve with sliced baguette.


This post linked to

See Ya in the Gumbo
Delicious Dishes
Hearth and Soul
Tasty Tuesday
Gooseberry Patch Recipe Round-Up